Monthly archive: November 2012

Sloes, apples and a sausage dog

We moved down from London to Broadstairs on the Kent coast 2 years ago and although we walk on the beach almost every day, we haven’t really explored much of the local countryside. So this weekend we headed inland just a few miles in search of some Sloes to make some Sloe gin for Christmas.

On Saturday we set out for the area around Sandwich, on the river Stour. We got soaked to the skin in torrential rain, but were compensated by finding some sloe bushes covered in huge, ripe berries that were actually in reach. We were determined not to leave our spot until we had enough sloes, while Otis, our little Dachshund shivered beside us. He is not the most robust of dogs and madly shakes himself if one drop of water lands on his head.

Sunday was a much happier walk for him. The weather couldn’t have been more different, We explored a beautiful area of marsh and reed beds on another section of the river Stour,¬†stopping off at the farm shop on the way back to stock up on local fruit and vegetables including the sweetest and crispiest apples and fat chestnuts. We feel quite pleased with ourselves, because although our hands are covered in scratches and I have a rip in my jacket, we now have 3 kilner jars of sloe gin ready to sample on Christmas day and enough to give as presents.

Kent apples blog

nov blog kent

nov blog 3

nov blog 4

Sloe gin

450g sloes
130g granulated sugar
1 litre gin

Prick the washed sloes with a clean needle and place them in a large, sterilised kilner jar. Add the sugar and the gin. Close up the lid and give the jar a shake. Shake everyday for 2 weeks and then store for a few weeks. It will turn into the most beautiful ruby coloured liquid. Use a funnel to strain the liquid through some muslin into sterilised bottles. Really you should leave it for 3 months and it is even better if you let it mature for a year. We are still going to try a tiny bit on Christmas day ready or not!

Turner and Turner

Reindeer Turner

Squirrel Turner

Birds Turner

Bird Turner

It is still only the middle of November and normally I don’t think about Christmas decorations until mid December, but the¬†Turner contemporary¬†art gallery in Margate has asked me to run a workshop on their Late night live event, to celebrate the switching on of the Christmas lights.

The event is next week on Friday 30th of November. I have spent a happy few hours today with a pile of paper and a pair of scissors, thinking up ideas for paper decorations. I am listening to Frank Turner on itunes at the same time, as we have a family outing to the Winter gardens in Margate, where Frank Turner will be playing tonight. It is all happening in Margate!

This is what I have come up with so far. My theme is woodland animals and I may add a couple more before next week. The bird is adapted from a project from my latest publication, Book art.

There will be other artists, live music and lots going on, so I think it is going to be a fun evening. I will let you know how I get on.